TGIF, lovelies! Is it me or does this week feel like it took forever to go by? I hate feeling like I’m wishing away my week, but after being stuck in the office Monday-Friday, I am soooo ready to do my thing on the weekend!
Today I am going to be talking about a few ways that I stay organized at work. As a professional event planner, I often juggle multiple events and projects at once. It was overwhelming in the beginning because I didn’t know how to organize myself or my time. I couldn’t figure out how to work on numerous projects simultaneously or how to tell what project needed precedence over the others. Over time (and a lot of trial & error) I have found some key skills that help me manage a busy work life so I get everything that needs to be done, accomplished and still be out of the office by 5!
I write everything down. If you are anything like me, then visuals are so important. I prefer to physically write down my tasks in a weekly planner so that I can organize my days and cross the tasks off when I finish them. I usually devote some time on Monday morning to filling in my week as much as I can. obviously, new things come up everyday, but by giving myself deadlines on paper I am more likely to get things done. It took me a while, but I have finally figured out how to be realistic with my daily goals. For a while I would either over-commit to what I could get done during my day or I would put 1-2 tasks and then procrastinate all day before completing them. I also try to be specific in what I want to accomplish. In my case, events have a lot of moving parts – so I divvy up what needs to be done and work on it a section at a time. This method also allows for me to break up my day and work on different projects without getting confused. I generally try to stick to a schedule where I work on the same event at the same time each day. I am a creature of habit, so knowing that I have a certain amount of time to work on project A before I have to start on project B helps keep me focused and productive.
I struggle with this. I am the type of person who likes things to always be aesthetically pleasing. I like uniform colors and clean lines and things in their place. This can be difficult when you are working on a bunch of things at once and there seems to be papers and folders everywhere. I take time at the end of everyday to straighten out my desk and get it looking right for the next morning. You automatically become more efficient when you know where everything you need is. I label everything that I am using and I use a lot of folders. I also print everything out. I know that seems bad for the environment (which it is), but I like having a physical copy of everything I need. I also find that having natural light is so helpful. At my last job I sat in the middle of an office under fluorescent lights with the closest window being pretty far off from me. At my job now, I sit against a wall of windows. It really does make such a difference having that natural light. I stay more productive for longer, feel more energized and just generally feel happier.
Complete a task or 2 and then take a break. Scroll through Insta, read a Buzzfeed article, go for a walk around the office, get some water, talk to your office neighbor – do something else! It has been scientifically proven that taking a little break between tasks helps you be more productive and I feel like I can personally vouch for that evidence. This kind of goes hand in hand with planning out your day (like in tip #1), so you have to be sure that you can manage your time. For me, what works is completing a task and then taking a 10-15 minute break before starting the next item on my list. I’ll usually take a quick walk or have a convo with a coworker and then get back to it. This way my brain gets a break to reset and refocus. I also try to section off my day a bit with my breaks. At lunch, I’ll usually run out to do an errand or two before coming back for the afternoon. I basically have this scheduled – so around 12:30pm I’ll step out for a little while. By the time I come back it is after 1. I find that my afternoon seems to drag on whenever I don’t take a lunch break. TBH, I feel like the fresh air and being outside helps rejuvenate and prepare me for a productive afternoon.
I’m sure not everyone will agree with this, but I find that listening to music helps me stay focused when I really need to get things done. This is a habit I think I developed in high school study hall when I would put on my headphones and crank out all the papers I had that week in 80 minutes. It just keeps me in the zone. I have different playlists for different things that I am doing, as well. I will listen to pump-up music if I have a lot of housekeeping to get through because it helps the time go by quicker and the tasks feel less monotonous. If I start feeling overwhelmed by too many things going on at once, I will put on something more relaxing to keep me focused and moving one step at a time. For me, the music I listen to helps shape my mood and productivity for the day.
This is probably the unpopular opinion. I’ve heard plenty of times that email is a better form of communication because you get everything in writing and have the “receipts” if you need them. I get this concept, but I feel more organized and productive when I talk to someone in person. I think creating a personal relationship is something that we lack today. In the business world, it is easy to get stuck in an electronic relationship and it doesn’t even feel weird that you can have legit history with someone who you’ve never even spoken to in real life before. I feel like when you email, you are required to keep a level of formality because writing is so subjective. The content can be interpreted a million different ways if you are not careful. When you pick up the phone and call some one you can show a little personality. It also makes things happen quicker. In my job, I work with a lot of different people to make an event come to life. When I am constantly waiting on an email back, things can take forever to happen. For the sake of keeping my day organized and structured, I would rather jump on the phone and get all the info I need in a 20 minute convo then be emailing back and forth for 2 weeks.
Let me know some ways you stay organized and if any of these were helpful to you!
With love & lilies,